The Curious Case of Paul Pogba

The Curious Case of Paul Pogba
May 16, 2017

Featured Manchester United

Every Manchester United fan was ecstatic when Paul Pogba joined from Juventus for a world record fee of £89 million back in August 2016. He joined United after an excellent campaign with the Italian giants, scoring nine goals and creating fourteen.

This was the last of four seasons he spent with the Bianconeri, having joined originally joined from United on a free transfer. Everyone in the world expected Pogba to light up the Premier League like he did in Serie A, but that hasn’t been the case so far. Is he looked at differently compared to other midfielders? Has he been unlucky?

Personally, the expectations exceeded reality for the Frenchman’s first season. This is mainly down to his price tag, when you think of the most expensive player in the world, you would think that they would score 20+ goals a season as well as countless assists but in reality, that won’t happen with Pogba. Pogba is a box-to-box midfielder or in some cases, a defensive midfielder in his first season in the Premier League. It is a common occurrence that players from abroad tend to struggle in their first season in the English top flight, great examples could be: Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Özil as well as David De Gea, who are now considered world class players. Pogba was brought by Jose Mourinho to control the midfield as well as to quicken up the transition from defence into attack.

United’s number six does have goals in his game, but the world expects him to get as many as top strikers across Europe to justify the enormous price tag. So far in the season, he has seven goals as well as four assists in all competitions which don’t look good on paper, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

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The story of United’s season is, they create all the chances in the world but can’t finish them off. Pogba has created the most chances for United this season and would have a great assist tally if his teammates could finish the chances off. In that situation, you could say that he’s been unlucky, but it get’s worse, he’s even hit the woodwork eight times in all competitions this season. Let’s talk hypothetically, say Pogba had scored all those attempts that hit the woodwork, that would be 15 goals which are significant numbers for any midfielder. Let’s also say that his teammates finished off the easy chances he has carved out for them, he could have 10+ assists on top of 15 goals, but sadly these will remain “what if?” moments.

I also personally think that Pogba is looked at differently compared to other midfielders because of his price tag and the unrealistic expectations set by the media and opposition fans. They will look at Pogba’s goals and assist tally and then deem him a “flop” but let’s look at a player who is considered one of the best midfielders in the world; Luka Modric. The Real Madrid midfielder has just the one goal and two assists but he is world class, and Paul Pogba is considered a flop?

I’m not disputing that Modric isn’t a world class midfielder because he is, but it baffles me as to why does he gets looked at differently? The same can be said for great midfielders such as Kante and Iniesta, who are phenomenal players in their own respect but their goals and assist tallies don’t show otherwise.

Another laughable but reoccurring reason used by opposition fans to downplay his ability is because of his eccentric personality. Pogba is known for dabbing and dancing on social media and sometimes for his celebrations on the pitch which means that he isn’t as good of a player for doing so which is just ridiculous. All of this dancing, dabbing and haircuts don’t change that he is an incredible football player.

The reality is Paul Pogba is only 24 years of age and has his peak years ahead of him. It’s scary how good he is already, and he’s still adjusting to a new league. He would get into every midfield in the world, but some fans of opposition teams are just blinded by his personality, price tag and the expectations.

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